Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
GORDON DEAN HALEY AND ANTON SCOTT HALEY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CO-EXECUTORS OF THE ESTATE OF MARGARET L. HALEY, Appellants,
BENEFICIAL FINANCIAL I INC, SUCCESSOR BY MERGER TO BENEFICIAL TEXAS INC., Appellee.
appeal from the 94th District Court of Nueces County, Texas.
Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Longoria and Perkes
Gordon Dean Haley and Anton Scott Haley, proceeding pro se,
requested the trial court determine a sufficient security to
suspend enforcement of the judgment during the pendency of
this appeal. See Tex. R. App. P. 24. Appellant
Gordon Dean Haley seeks review of the trial court's
decision, arguing the amount is excessive because it will
cause appellants substantial economic harm. See id.
Because we hold the trial court did not abuse its discretion
in determining the amount of the security, we deny appellant
Gordon Dean Haley's request for relief.
Beneficial Financial I Inc. filed suit for judicial
foreclosure of its lien on the real property located at 4910
Lavaca Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78411 (the Property). The
lien secured a promissory note executed by appellants'
parents in 2006. Following the death of their mother in 2011,
appellants acquired undivided one-half interests in the
Property. The last payment on the note was made in June 2011.
The trial court granted appellant's motion for summary
judgment and this appeal ensued.
sought to enforce its judgment by obtaining an order of sale
with writ of possession from the trial court. The district
court issued a writ of execution and the Property was noticed
for a sheriff's sale on April 2, 2019. Appellants filed a
motion for emergency relief, temporary restraining order, and
stay of execution pending appeal. We issued a temporary stay
and requested appellee to file a response to the motion.
Appellee responded that appellants were not entitled to
suspend enforcement of the judgment because they failed to
file a supersedeas bond or its equivalent. See id.
We lifted the temporary stay and denied appellants'
Gordon Dean Haley then filed a "Motion for Determination
and Setting of Appeal Bond" in the trial court, arguing
the judgment was for money and thus appellants should be
exempted from posting any security because his "net
worth is less than $0.00." See id. R.
24.2(a)(1)(A). To support his argument, appellant Gordon Dean
Haley attached an affidavit listing his assets and
liabilities. Appellant Anton Scott Haley filed his own motion
making identical arguments. He attached a Statement of
Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs or an Appeal Bond
that includes information about his current financial
filed a response, arguing the judgment is for the recovery of
an interest in property and thus the security should be fixed
at the rental value of the Property during the pendency of
the appeal. See id. R. 24.2(a)(2). Appellee provided
the trial court with evidence that the monthly rental value
is $1, 375 and asked the trial court to fix the amount of the
security at $20, 625 based on an estimated fifteen-month
Gordon Dean Haley filed a reply, arguing that even if the
judgment is for the recovery of an interest in property, the
amount appellee requested would cause appellants substantial
economic harm. See id. R. 24.2(b). As additional
supporting evidence, he attached a notice from April 11,
2019, denying his application for a personal loan; a utility
statement from March 14, 2019, showing a delinquent balance;
a statement showing his student loan balances; and his 2017
application to FEMA for disaster assistance and the denial of
his application. Appellant again asked the trial court to fix
the security amount at $0 or in the alternative, an amount
not to exceed $350.
trial court held a hearing on April 12, 2019, fixing the bond
amount at $16, 500 based on the twelve-month rental value of
the Property. The Property is currently scheduled to be sold
at a sheriff's sale on May 7, 2019. Appellant Gordon Dean
Haley filed a motion in this Court for emergency review of
the trial court's determination. The gravamen of his
argument is the trial court failed to give due consideration
to appellants' demonstrated inability to pay the security
amount. We have received a response from appellee opposing
the motion on various grounds.
Applicable Law and Standard of Review
general, a judgment debtor is entitled to suspend enforcement
of the judgment while pursuing an appeal. Miga v.
Jensen, 299 S.W.3d 98, 99 (Tex. 2010). But that right is
not unconditional; a judgment debtor may supersede a judgment
by written agreement with the judgment creditor, filing a
good and sufficient bond, depositing cash or its equivalent
in lieu of a bond, or providing alternate security ordered by
the court. Tex.R.App.P. 24.1(a). When the judgment is for the
recovery of an interest in real property, the trial court
determines the type of security, but the amount must be at
least the rental value of the property. Id. R.
24.2(a)(2). However, the trial court must lower the required
amount to a sum that will not cause the judgment debtor
substantial economic harm if, after notice to all parties and
a hearing, the court finds the required amount is likely to
cause the judgment debtor substantial economic harm.
Id. R. 24.2(b). "A judgment debtor seeking to
lower the amount of security . . . has the burden to prove it
will suffer substantial economic harm if the amount is not
decreased." Drake Interiors, Inc., v. Thomas,
531 S.W.3d 325, 328 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th] Dist. 2017, no
courts are authorized to review the sufficiency or
excessiveness of the security amount. Tex.R.App.P.
24.4(a)(1). Trial judges have broad discretion in determining
the security type and amount. Hernandez v. U.S. Bank Tr.
N.A. for LSF8 Master Participation Tr., 527 S.W.3d 307,
309 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2017, no pet.) (citing Miller v.
Kennedy & Minshew, P.C., 80 S.W.3d 161, 164 (Tex.
App.-Fort Worth 2002, no pet.)). Accordingly, we review a
trial court's supersedeas ruling for an abuse of
discretion. In re Kajima Int'l, Inc., 139 S.W.3d
107, 112 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2004) (orig. proceeding)
(citing Kennedy & Minshew, 80 S.W.3d at 166). A
trial court abuses its discretion if it acts arbitrarily or
unreasonably without reference to any guiding rules or
principles. Bowie Mem'l Hosp. v. Wright, 79
S.W.3d 48, 52 (Tex. 2002) (per curiam) (citing Downer v.
Aquamarine Operators, Inc., 701 S.W.2d 238, 241-42